Just as they had in a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets at home on Saturday night, the Coyotes fell behind 2-0 and couldn't recover. Columbus (21-38-7) needed less than four minutes to score twice on Tuesday.
Just 31 seconds in, Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger settled a high pass by catching it and dropping it on his stick. He then skated past Coyotes defenseman Michal Rozsival before floating in by himself and beating goalie Mike Smith high on the stick side.
Johnson then took a cross-ice set-up from Vinny Prospal that found him by himself on the left wing. He skated in and netted a hard shot on Smith's glove side.
That was it for Smith, who had lobbied Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett before the game to let him make his 10th straight start despite having played on Monday at Pittsburgh. Tippett inserted backup Jason LaBarbera into the game at 3:54 of the first period after Smith had faced just seven shots.
Mason, who struggled all season, has suddenly strung together three strong games in a row while allowing only four goals. He made 30 saves in the 5-2 win over the Coyotes on Saturday in Glendale.
Antoine Vermette, whom Columbus dealt to Phoenix on Feb. 22 for two draft picks and a backup goalie, scored for the Coyotes to cut the lead to 2-1 midway through the first period.
But the Blue Jackets regained their two-goal lead early in the second period with a controversial goal (see KEY MOMENT below).
Keith Yandle scored at 16:26 of the second period to narrow the gap to a goal again, but Mason and his defense were stout in the scoreless third period.
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The Coyotes were 0 for 5 on power plays including a 20-second five-on-three segment in the third period.
"Your goalie has to be your best penalty killer and he sure was tonight," Johnson said of Mason. "We were just trying to keep the shots to the outside and he did the rest. He made some spectacular saves to win us the game. He came up big."
Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was stymied on a hard shot gloved by Mason while the Coyotes were short-handed with 7:35 left. Phoenix's Radim Vrbata's chest-high shot stunned Mason in the final seconds, but Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski cleared the puck from the crease.
Mason also made big saves on Doan and Ray Whitney early in the final period.
"We talked about a few things not going our way right now," Tippett said. "We have to keep our head above water. We've got to get back at it and find a way to get a win."
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
Leading 2-1, Columbus scored the decisive goal when forward Derek Dorsett rushed the net and ended up on top of Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera in the crease early in the second period. The puck went to Derek MacKenzie on the right wing and his wrister from a hard angle found the top shelf.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett argued that Dorsett had interfered with LaBarbera, but the goal was allowed to stand.
"It's just a poor call. It's unfortunate that goal ends up being the winning goal, but ultimately it's our start that doomed us," Tippett said. "It's a blatant goalie interference, but that being said we can't go down 2-0 early in games and be expecting to come back."
Coyotes captain Shane Doan said it was obvious that there should have been a penalty.
"Everybody on the ice, all 15 guys on the ice - except for one - saw (it)," Doan said. "Nobody's trying to make mistakes out there. You just wish that once it's pointed out that it's corrected."
► Click here to see the KEY MOMENT.
• The defeat extended Phoenix's losing streak to a season-high four games. All four losses in the streak were regulation losses - the longest such losing streak under Head Coach Dave Tippett.
• After failing to notch a point in his first six games with the Coyotes, center Antoine Vermette tallied his first point with Phoenix by scoring a goal at 11:57 of the first period against the team that traded him to the Coyotes on Feb. 22. Vermette also led the Coyotes in the faceoff circles; he won 13 of 18 draws.
• The Coyotes gave up two goals in the first period. In the last eight games, opponents have outscored Phoenix 14-3 in the first 20 minutes.
• Captain Shane Doan took 10 of the team's 40 shots on goal.
• The Coyotes played minus injured forward Kyle Chipchura (upper-body) and injured defensemen Rostislav Klesla (upper-body) and David Schlemko (lower-body). The Coyotes also played minus defenseman Derek Morris, who has taken a leave of absence because of a family illness.
• The Coyotes' next game is Thursday vs. the Minnesota Wild at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"The third goal (scored by Columbus) was incredibly unfortunate, but the start of the game is what cost us. That's on us... The last four games (our starts) have been dreadful."
"It's your job as a backup to go in and give the guys a chance to win. Unfortunately, that third goal (scored by Columbus) was a bit of a joke... I couldn't move. I couldn't do anything... Nobody pushed their guy on me."
"I'm feeling really good... The guys are working really hard. The games right now are becoming fun to play in. The guys are playing competitively. You can see it's just a lot more fun atmosphere."